For a number of years now, some very clever developers over at German studio Gaming Minds have been churning out solid titles centered on prudent trading and fierce tactical battles at sea. These would be the illustrious Port Royale and Patrician series, both of which have garnered extensive critical praise, and the brand new Rise of Venice carries on that same tradition in style. The year is 1455, and the world is your oyster; will you rise to the top of the Venetian pecking order, or be forever relegated to the dustbin of history?
When actually engaged in combat, Rise of Venice employs a fairly intuitive control scheme that has you click-dragging with the right mouse button to steer your ship, while trying to sink the other guy’s boats by letting off repeated cannon barrages. An aspect that’s sure to please a lot of players is the variety of arms that you equip your convoy with, including oil slicks to bog down the enemy, exploding barrels that are basically sea mines, and my personal favorite, two cannonballs with a chain strung between them that spin through the air, snapping any masts they encounter as if they were twigs.
If you’ve never tried Port Royale or Patrician, but are looking to explore a truly engaging “period piece” that will provide hours of entertainment, take Rise of Venice for a spin. As the latest offering from Kalypso and Gaming Minds, the game succeeds at re-creating an age out of mind through the very modernity of its design, and the presentation is as slick as any other new release you’ll find out right now. It may not be for everyone, but even if you count yourself among such people, there’s an extremely good chance you’d change your mind in no time at all after playing this gem.